The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has embarked on a massive water disconnection exercise to recover close to $150 million it is owed by various clients, including Beitbridge and Gwanda town councils.
As of December 31, 2016, Zinwa was owed $146 117 812 by various clients including irrigators, Government departments, parastatals, local authorities, domestic users, industry and mines.
Zinwa public relations and marketing manager Mrs Marjory Munyonga said the ongoing exercise will see the disconnection of water supplies for all those clients whose accounts are in arrears and all those clients who have reneged on the payment plans they entered into with Zinwa.
“Zinwa therefore advises all those clients whose accounts are not paid up to make sure that they pay up or enter into acceptable payment plans with their respective Zinwa Catchments.
“All those clients who have queries regarding their bills are advised to visit their respective catchment offices. This disconnection exercise is part of raft of measures Zinwa has employed in order to enforce payment for service by clients,” she said.
Mrs Munyonga said other measures include legal action and continuous engagement of owing clients.
The non-payment of bills by clients, she said, has negatively impacted on Zinwa’s ability to sustainably provide service and as a result the authority has not been able to repair and maintain water reticulation infrastructure, procure critical spares and build up water treatment chemical stocks.
In addition, she said, Zinwa has not been able to meet it statutory obligations such as the payment of taxes, levies, creditors and salaries.
“We therefore appeal to all affected clients to fully co-operate with its personnel carrying out the disconnections. Zinwa takes serious exception to reports of threats and harassment directed at its staff during this exercise and would like to warn all those people issuing such threats that it is illegal, under the Water Act, to obstruct a duly authorised officer from carrying out his duties,” she said.
“The authority continues to reiterate that service can only be sustained when water users pay for the services they receive. Zinwa also appeals to water users to use the resource very sparingly and efficiently to avoid huge and unsustainable water bills.”